But is it right to always be treated? she wondered.
Her internal conflict didn’t last long. Yi-soo’s motto was to spend when necessary and save when possible. As she was about to hand her card to the employee, Hyun-seong smoothly intercepted it, surprising her.
“What are you doing?” she asked.
“It’s fine,” he replied.
“No, it’s not. I said I’ll pay.”
“I finished the whole bottle of wine. Why should you pay? The person who ordered should pay,” Hyun-seong retorted.
True, she hadn’t even tasted the wine, but she was still conscious of being treated again. Sensing her hesitation, Hyun-seong extended his card and added, “Next time, Prosecutor Seo can pay.”
“Answer me,” Hyun-seong insisted.
“Fine. It’s a promise. Don’t even think about taking out your wallet.”
After Hyun-seong signed the receipt, he took back his card. Yi-soo’s eyes lingered on the bill with a slightly disappointed expression. After bidding farewell to the restaurant staff, they left the restaurant together.
“I’ll give you a ride. I’ll take you there,” Hyun-seong offered.
“No, it’s okay. It’s just a 20-minute bus ride from here, no big deal. There’s no need to transfer either,” Yi-soo declined.
“Secretary Kang has been complaining about being bored lately. It won’t be a problem to indulge a little more,” Hyun-seong insisted.
“Hey, Attorney Yoon. You know I can hear everything, right? Treating people like a… Yes, Prosecutor. I’ll take you both. Please don’t worry; it’s my job. I’ll start the engine, so get in quickly,” Secretary Kang chimed in, opening the driver’s seat door.
Feeling uncomfortable with being indebted every time, Yi-soo hesitated. Hyun-seong, observing her silently, finally spoke up.
“Don’t worry about it.”
“What do you mean?” she asked.
“I’m talking about that stalker incident,” he replied, breaking the silence. At the mention of the stalker, Yi-soo narrowed her eyes.
“I looked into it on my end. The defendant in Prosecutor Seo’s case was him. He received a one-year prison sentence last June and seems to have been released recently. His name is Kim Ji-cheol. Aggravated assault,” Hyun-seong informed.
“Ah… Kim Ji-cheol,” Yi-soo unconsciously furrowed her brows. The name rang a bell, and she distinctly remembered this particular case as malicious and heinous.
Kim Ji-cheol, a man in his thirties, had stalked his ex-girlfriend for nearly half a year, eventually threatening her with a knife and inflicting injuries. The thought of it made her shudder with dread.
If Hyun-seong hadn’t come to pick her up that day, she didn’t even want to imagine what could have happened. The potential grim reality churned her stomach. She wiped her face with her palm, trying to shake off the unsettling feeling.
“He’s out, I see. I thought the sentence was too lenient,” she muttered.
“After checking the CCTV, it turns out he had been following Prosecutor Seo for two days before that. He probably planned his moves. I took measures to make sure he doesn’t entertain any foolish ideas, but just to be safe, let’s stick together for a while,” Hyun-seong advised.
“You took measures… You didn’t use illegal methods, did you?” Yi-soo asked, concerned.
Hyun-seong took a moment to think before casually responding, “Well, let’s just say it wasn’t strictly within legal boundaries. Not quite criminal, though. As long as he’s sane, he won’t be following Prosecutor Seo around in the future.”
Yi-soo sighed. “Attorney Yoon, I appreciate your concern, but…”
“You know just how many crazy people are out there. It’s best not to get involved,” Hyun-seong said, clicking his tongue. Then, he opened the right rear seat door. “Let’s go. It’s getting late.”
“Alright,” Yi-soo replied.
She willingly got into the vehicle and brushed her tangled hair aside. Even though he said he took care of it, there were still too many issues she had to be cautious about.
In no time, Secretary Kang pressed the accelerator, and the car started moving. The road scenery passed by quickly and smoothly outside the window, like a panorama.
Every day felt like a battlefield for Yi-soo. Being a prosecutor in the Southern District Prosecutor’s Office, her days were so busy and chaotic that it was hard to catch her breath.
When will I ever have some free time… she wondered.
She longed for a day when she could truly have some leisure. Feeling tired, Yi-soo slowly lowered her eyelids. A sense of relief washed over her as if tension was finally leaving her body. She thought it wouldn’t hurt to close her eyes for a little while.
Unconsciously, she tilted her head and rested it on Hyun-seong’s shoulder, her hair brushing against him. Drowsiness enveloped her, and she felt a sense of tranquility.